Grew up in West New York, NJ in the late ’60’s. The spaldeen games we played included : boxball, slapball, “fly’s up” (which is referred to here as stoopball), stickball, and my personal favorite “Fireball (which seems related to what others here have called “War”). In Fireball, the game was usually played everyman for himself. (i.e., no teams). Typically 4-8 participants. The game started with someone throwing the ball straight up high into the air. Everyone had the option of catching it. Whoever caught it was free to throw the ball usually as hard as possible at any of the other players, with one exception. If any player touched the player in possession of the ball, then that player could not be a target. The player with the ball was not allowed to move. All other players were free to run away. Once the ball was released, it either hit another player or it missed. In either case, the ball was free for anyone else to pick up and play resumed. A maximum number of times hit was established at the start of the game. Usually, this number was three. So, if a player was hit three times with the ball, he was eliminated. Eventually, all but one player would be eliminated in this way and the remaining player was declared the winner. If a player violated one of the few rules, he was then put in front of the “Firing Squad” (this is referred to in Streetplay as “asses up”). A typical violation would be throwing and hitting someone who had just managed to touch the playe with the ball. In the Firing Squad, the violater faced a wall with hands and legs stretched out, similar to the way a criminal would spread on a vehicle when asked to “spread ’em” by a cop. Each player, standing about 30 feet back from the violator, would get one chance to throw the ball at the violator. It was during games of fireball that I would witness the advanced trait of sympathy. Some players would throw the ball lightly at the violator during the Firing Squad phase. This is how we learned things in West New York.
Original author: 52ndStreetJ